September 11, 2014
Evidence that 30 second intervals and heavy weights improves distance performance
I'm desperate to read this entire study, once it's available. In the meantime, it will almost certainly be co-opted by the all intensity, all the time crowd, disregarding the fact that some interval work mixed with some endurance work is basically standard distance training fare.
Still, I've got a few thoughts, just from the abstract.
1) First of all, I love that they tested actual performance, rather than physiological measurements. Too many studies assume that an increase in VO2max is the same as an increase in performance. That simply isn't true. But 10K and 1500 meter times are real, relatable things. I know what a 42 minute 10K is, what it looks like.
2) We really need to see what the control group's training looked like. Was it all slow? What was the volume?
3) We also need to see how long the endurance runs were for the "intensity" group. The abstract implies that they were reduced, but it could also be referring to weekly volume.
4) What did the weight training consist of? It was heavy, we know that. Were plyos involved too?
5) Lydiard folks would note that the intensity group basically did an old fashioned sharpening phase. Of course the athletes ran faster, they'd argue. But without the previous base work, they wouldn't have benefited to the same degree, or perhaps, been able to handle the training.
6) To that end, it is a very short study. Peaking works. We know this already. How would the 10K times look if the intensity group had kept up their training for 6 months, however?
7) See number one again. Seriously. They nailed this aspect.